trashtoys ‘r’ us

Earlier in Januar 2006, the ecoblog Treehugger covered an interesting story on Arvind Gupta who is well known for developing toys out of trash / waste material and publishing books on various subjects. The “tinkerer and toy-maker”, as he is quoted in this article by India Together, has dedicated his life to demystifying the abstruse world of science for the comprehension of children”.
Looking at his toys, one understands his interesting approach on combining toys & with science and it also reminds me of this little scientific book I had as a child that featured similar ideas. No wonder I’ve become a geek :-)

“The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it !”
(quote on Arvind Gupta‘s website)

This morning I received a challenging short message by my dear friend Mbuzimoja, who asked me about creative toys that could be built with 4 to 9 years old children in an orphanage. Since I’d forwarded the above mentioned article to her earlier in January, she told me to have a closer look at do-able ideas – toys that could be produced in Kenya. Oh yeah – I DO like this idea!
Here’s what I had in mind (all links open in a new window):

Crown-Cap “Tik-Tiki”


Ballon Pump

can top

clap in the air (oh, i love this! :-)

musical oboe

Or for the older kids a simple generator (motor) that powers an LED (these parts are available on 2nd hand electronic markets or even from other old electronical gadgets).

…the list goes on and on and it becomes obvious that creativity knows no boundaries while at the same time the children learn something about building their own toys (like those wire cars we already know) and getting an understanding for technology. In case this triggered your interest, make sure to check out Arvind Guptas publications as well. A man who clearly enjoys the joy of sharing. Thank you!

P.S.: and here’s a special solar link for you, afroM :-)

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

4 thoughts on “trashtoys ‘r’ us”

  1. yeah that stuff is great, you showed me his earlier. the only problem of building them with a group of, let’s say 20, 9year olds is to get 20 pairs of worn out slippers and stuff. in fact that was my problem when i wanted to try it out. and some are simply not managable for a “grobmotoriker” like me.

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